See Multimedia Codecs and Playing proprietary formats for official documentation on this issue. Ubuntu strives to make all software that meets the licensing terms in the Ubuntu License Policy available. However patent and copyright restrictions complicate free operating systems distributing software to support proprietary formats. Ubuntu's commitment to only include completely free software by default means that proprietary media formats are not configured 'out of the box'. Ubuntu can play the most popular non-free media formats, including DVD, MP3, Quicktime, Windows Media, and more by following the instructions below. If this seems like unnecessary work, remember that Ubuntu is a distribution of free software and these packages are (at least arguably) affected by patents and license restrictions in some countries. Avoid formats suppressed by DRM (Digital Rights Management, or Digital Restrictions Management), as they are often unplayable. See Ubuntu's Free Software Philosophy and the Free Formats page for a more comprehensive discussion of these issues. Legal Notice Patent and copyright laws operate differently depending on which country you are in. Please obtain legal advice if you are unsure whether a particular patent or restriction applies to a media format you wish to use in your country.
Playing Restricted Formats
<<Anchor(short)>> Follow these steps to play and record most common multimedia formats, including MP3, DVD, Flash, Quicktime, WMA and WMV, including both standalone files and content embedded in web pages.
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) and 9.10 (Karmic Koala)
Click here to install the ubuntu-restricted-extras package If you are using a different derivative of Ubuntu, install one of these instead:
To play DVDs, you also need to install libdvdcss by opening a terminal and entering the following in addition to installing the restricted extras package:
The instructions below for 8.10 and 8.04 should still also work.
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, 9.10, 8.04
- Go to Applications → Add/Remove...
- Set Show: to All available applications
- Search for ubuntu-restricted-extras and install it. Note that there is also xubuntu-restricted-extras (for Xubuntu) and kubuntu-restricted-extras (for Kubuntu.)
Or open the Terminal, and execute the following command:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
Detailed Instructions and Troubleshooting
- Ripping CDs
- Converting your audio files and video to open formats
- Using the iTunes Music Store
- Playing or ripping CDs to AAC (.m4a) files
The Ubuntu and Kubuntu Media Players
- Ubuntu comes with Totem (a movie player) and Rhythmbox (a music player)
- Kubuntu includes Kaffeine (a multimedia player) and Amarok (a music player)
These media players support free formats (Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora, and similar formats) 'out of the box'. However, they can also play most non-free media formats if you install the additional gstreamer (for Ubuntu only) or libxine1 (for Kubuntu only) packages listed above. See Multimedia Applications for an overview of the most popular media players for Ubuntu and Kubuntu.
- Multimedia How To from the Ubuntu Forums
- The free formats page
- Ubuntu's Free Software Philosophy
- Wikipedia article on Open Formats
- Wikipedia article on CSS
- Debian-Marillat Repositories
- GNU Gnash, a GNU flash player (alpha)
- Ubuntu Customization Guide resembles Easy Ubuntu and Ubuntu Guide. But it has another focus as it tries to teach and link to existing documentation.